Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Will Miss #361 - Japanese strikers and protesters

In Japan, the unions are exceptionally weak and tend to cooperate fully with most companies. Most of the time, the union reps get together and quietly talk about what the company is willing to do and just do it. They rarely push hard. When they do strike, it is an almost comically mild event in which a small group of people quietly parade down a street in a complete and orderly manner bearing banners. Protests, with some recent exceptions related to anti-nuclear rallies, are conducted in a similar restrained fashion. The entire experience is tantamount to writing a complaint letter saying, "I'm terribly sorry to inconvenience you with my concerns and you may feel free to ignore them entirely, but I must humbly voice them in the quietest and least strident manner I can possibly manage."

There is something uniquely Japanese about these sedate, polite, and completely cooperative efforts to "protest", and I will miss it.